The Australian Open swings into the Metaverse on Decentraland

Tennis Australia has partnered with Decentraland to host the Australian Open (AO), which will be the first official tennis grand slam in the Metaverse.

A virtual recreation of key areas in Melbourne Park, including the Rod Laver Arena and Grand Slam Park, will be open for the duration of the Australian Open tournament, which will run for a fortnight beginning on Jan. 17.

The event will include exclusive content for virtual visitors, including behind-the-scenes footage from over 300 cameras around Melbourne Park, including the exclusive player arrivals area and the practice village.

As well as broadcasting live footage and AO radio, it will also feature archival footage from tennis matches dating back to the 70s and virtual meet-ups with tennis players including Mark Philippoussis, with other players yet to be confirmed.

Tennis Australia NFT & Metaverse Project Manager Ridley Plummer said in a virtual welcome address on Decentraland that he hopes for the AO to become the “world’s most accessible and inclusive sports and entertainment event.”

“With the unique challenges fans have faced getting to Melbourne, we’ve fast-tracked our launch into the Metaverse,” he said.

“Taking the AO into the Metaverse is an important step to provide truly global access to our great event.”

This is especially pertinent given travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, making it very difficult for many fans to reach Melbourne to view the event in real life. The 2021 AO faced a range of challenges, including a historically low number of on-site spectators and lockdown restrictions.

Despite the timely introduction of the partnership given the pandemic, Plummer says that the AO plans to continue to collaborate with Decentraland in the future. “We’re in it for the long term,” he said.

“The Metaverse is not going anywhere, and as a company, we’re invested in continuing to grow our online presence and push the boundaries of innovation.”

He also added that Tennis Australia is exploring the possibility of a year-round property in the Metaverse.

“We definitely think of ourselves more as an entertainment event rather than just a tennis event. Whether we’re providing entertainment via the metaverse twelve months of the year or only a few months of the year, that’s definitely a decision to be made in our roadmap going forward.”

Australian Open lands a sweet NFT partnership

Meanwhile, on Jan. 17, the AO also announced it would be teaming up with NFT platform Sweet to release six NFT collections commemorating the last five decades of the AO.

The collections will be released intermittently between Jan. 17 and 27 to coincide with the tournament.

Tom Mizzone, CEO of Sweet said that the NFT release demonstrates a “truly new level of access” for fans to get a glimpse into the world of their idols.

“We love this idea of turning IP into digital memorabilia and tying that memorabilia back to an experience,” he added.

“The idea that the AO designed an umpire chair that had never been seen before and now tennis fans can own and display that umpire chair as an NFT is just amazing.”

Separately, the AO launched a collection of 6,776 algorithmically created “Art Ball” NFTs on Opensea on Jan 12.

According to Plummer, the collection sold out in three minutes following the public drop with a price floor of 0.26 ETH (around $875) and a trading volume of 223 ETH ($751,287).

Related: Australia’s largest crypto exchange will sponsor tennis star Ajla Tomljanovic

This isn’t the Open’s first rodeo in the Metaverse. In 2020, the AO hosted the Fortnite Summer Smash, an esports event with a $100,000 prize pool.

Tennis Australia has leased the virtual land from Vegas City, a company that owns large areas of the metaverse.

The AO has already had its share of drama, with an Australian court dismissing Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic’s appeal against a deportation order.

Djokovic is a vocal critic of the COVID-19 vaccination and claims he was given an exemption from the Australian government to enter the country despite being unvaccinated.


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Tennis Superstar Naomi Osaka Says Dogecoin Prompted Her Interest in Crypto Investing

Naomi Osaka, a top tennis professional tennis player from Japan, is almost getting into cryptocurrencies.

In a recent interview with Bloomberg, Osaka, the four-time Grand Slam tennis singles champion, revealed that she is considering investing in cryptocurrency, saying that Dogecoin triggered her interest.

Osaka has already dominated the world of tennis sports, winning four Grand Slam singles titles over the last three years and achieving the top women’s tennis players globally. She is now potentially looking for success in another industry that is investing in cryptocurrency, thanks to the trading performance of the Dogecoin meme cryptocurrency.

The top-notch tennis player said that although her agent pitched her the idea of crypto investing, she had already noticed some trending information over the social media buzz around Dogecoin.

“I was actually just talking with my agent about cryptocurrencies; I know that online, everything is getting bigger. I remember reading about Dogecoin … there’s going to be something new and interesting that’s going to pop up,”

Osaka already has stepped one foot in the crypto sector through NFT collectables. In April, Osaka released a six-piece collection of one-of-one NFTs through collaboration with her sister, Mari Osaka, a retired tennis pro.

Osaka released the newly signed collectables on Tom Brady’s Autograph platform and collectively sold for almost $600,000. One NFT was sold at $200,200, the high purchase amount, which recently stands at the most expensive sold by a professional tennis player. 

Why Investing in Doge?

Stimulated by Elon Musk and Reddit, the price of Dogecoin is up 5,700% at 27 cents per coin this year but is still 60% lower from a peak of about 70 cents hit in May, according to data from CoinDesk. On major cryptocurrency exchanges, trading volumes of Dogecoin soared to nearly $1 billion in a day in the second quarter, according to data from Coinbase Global.

It is hard to ignore such returns, and many investors are scrambling to enter into the crypto bandwagon to get more riches. Some investors can make money with dogecoin, especially those who have extra cash and are willing to invest in the meme crypto token.

Inspired by Tesla CEO Elon Musk, many investors have become millionaires after investing in Dogecoin.

Image source: Shutterstock


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Top Tennis Player Andy Murray’s Wimbledon NFT Sold for $177,777 at Auction

Scottish professional tennis player Andrew Barron Murray’s 2013 Wimbledon championship moment non-fungible token (NFT) has been sold for $177,777 at the WEENEW auction on Monday, according to the Reuters report.

The buyer who purchase Murray’s Wimbledon “moment” NFT reportedly will not own the copyright of this video but will have a small electronic screen showing two tickets for the 2022 Wimbledon Men’s Final on Centre Court one with Murray’s chance to play tennis and signed souvenirs.

Andy Murray, who has owned world No. 1 ranking by the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) for 41 weeks, said that he was attracted by the biggest NFT sale to date that Beeple NFT sold at Auction for $69.3M.

Therefore, it was stated last month that a series of blockchain-based collections about his Wimbledon tennis tournament would be auctioned on Beeple ‘s WENEW platform.

Although Murray stated that he does not currently hold any cryptocurrency and NFT, he said that he would buy an NFT “moment” from WENEW in the future.

Murray said that:

“I’m still learning about NFTs but it feels like an exciting area and one I’m sure more athletes and content creators will be getting involved in.”

NFT is considered as a particular type of encrypted token that represents unique collectables. An NFT is used in specific applications that require unique digital items, such as encrypted art, digital collectables, and online games.

NFT not only goes deep into the field of sports events but is also beginning to take in new types of social media and traditional media. Twitter and Instagram reportedly develop non-fungible tokens (NFT) feature on their app.

Meanwhile, AMM Global, a film and television production investment company detached from Hong Kong Asia Television Limited (ATV), announced a partnership with Phoenix Waters Productions to launch Asia’s first NFT drama named ‘Crypto Keepers’.

Image source: Shutterstock


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